Said or Told

by , under Grammar

Do you know when to use said and when to use told? Some students find these words confusing. This article should clarify things for you.

Statue of two gossips talking

By Rebecca Kennison

Rules and Examples

RULE: Say cannot be followed by a direct personal object (for example, me, him, her, us, them, John, Peter, Mary). Use told instead.

INCORRECT: I said her to send me the document.

CORRECT: I told her to send me the document.

INCORRECT: The teacher said the class that hot air rises and cold air sinks.

CORRECT: The teacher told the class that hot air rises and cold air sinks.

RULE: Do not use tell with the preposition to. Remove the preposition or rephrase your sentence with say.

INCORRECT: I told to her my phone number.

CORRECT: I told her my phone number.

CORRECT: I said my phone number.

RULE: Do not use it after tell to refer to a fact. Remove the extra word.

INCORRECT: I’ll tell you it tomorrow.

CORRECT: I’ll tell you tomorrow.

EXCEPTION: I’ll tell you it gave me the strangest feeling I ever had.

 Video Lesson on Said and Told


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